Kirkgate Centre to appeal as extension is refused
Last updated at 19:55, Thursday, 12 July 2012
Cockermouth's Kirkgate Centre has launched an appeal after plans to extend the building were rejected by Allerdale council.
The council’s development panel on Tuesday turned down the plans, despite a recommendation that two zinc-clad extensions, joined to the existing building by glass walkways, should be approved.
But panel members said the proposed building would be out of keeping with the town’s conservation area.
The plans have split opinion in the town, with people writing both in support of and against the plans.
Hannah Kozich, chairman of the Kirkgate Centre, said: “We have spent the last two years designing the scheme. We have actively engaged with the local community and taken advice from a range of excellent professionals.
“It is therefore both surprising and disappointing that the planning committee have made this decision, which is contrary to the planning officers’ recommendation.”
The meeting heard from centre representatives, who said the extensions would help to secure the future of the building and that agencies such as English Heritage favoured modern extensions over attempts to mimic existing styles.
The refurbishment would have included a foyer with a cafe bar, seating area and box office, a community meeting room, better offices and improved seating, lighting and sound equipment in the auditorium.
But Meredyth Bell, who runs a dental surgery on Market Place, said it would make no sense to approve the plan when she had to buy cast iron replacement guttering for her listed building and another nearby resident had been told to change replacement windows as they were not suitable for the conservation area.
Cockermouth councillor Margaret Jackson said she was quite excited about the planned changes and Coun Martin Wood said: “It could be seen as an evolution of design.”
But Coun Sam Standage said that, while he was proud of the Kirkgate Centre, the planned changes would have an adverse effect on the conservation area.
Eleven councillors voted in favour of refusal with five against.
A conservation area application to partially demolish the east and west gables was then turned down on the basis that, with the overall scheme refused, the centre could not demonstrate it had an acceptable plan to redevelop the site.
Mrs Kozich added: “We will now press on with our planning appeal and remain hopeful that it will receive consent in due course.
“We are immensely grateful for the support of so many local people and the endorsements by English Heritage, the civic trust, and the design review panel Places Matter.”
First published at 19:25, Thursday, 12 July 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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